Monday, May 4, 2015

Bringer of Light

Who are you learning from? Who is the leader that you connect with the most as your mentor, guide, or example that you aspire to live up to? Please don't say that you don't need a mentor, or that you no longer need to learn. If that's truly how you feel I wish you nothing but the best (as your career spirals down the drain.)

My View
For me personally I am starving for more...whether it's insight into the RPO industry...getting to know my colleagues better...understanding how to best juggle a life that is literally split between three states...or figuring out the best way to push harder and faster than everyone is comfortable with me doing.

I hate feeling comfortable...that typically means leaders are talking big and running scared at the same time. Leaders who run scared are absolutely useless....don't you think?

I find it odd that the more senior leaders become, the more they convince themselves that they have it all figured out. 

Perhaps it's counter-intuitive, but as one's scope expands dramatically doesn't that mean the amount of learning necessary is exponentially higher?

Admitting that we need to learn is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it sends a signal to our teams that learning is what leaders do. Confidently learning is far different than having an a know-it-all swagger.

Are you with me?

How About You
So who are you learning from? Is it someone in your company...your CEO...a member of your team with specialized knowledge...or perhaps a member of your Personal Board of Directors?

Keep learning. When you do...your leadership will rise above the noise and make a real difference.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Am A Viking (Recruiter)

"Wake early
if you want
another man's life or land.
No lamb
for the lazy wolf.
No battle's won in bed."
The Havamal

I think the Vikings would have made excellent recruiters. Seriously. They were fearless, powered their way into unknown territories, went after what they wanted, and got the job done. This model gives new meaning to the term headhunter, don't you think?

When recruiters begin their work today, do they focus on their target candidates? Sure, they say they do, but we've all seen varying definitions of "focus." Without a plan to get those candidates the results can seem haphazard and chaotic. Chaos doesn't work, ever. It doesn't impress your boss, your client, or the candidates you're trying to sell on the opportunity.

Focus is essential...and Vikings had focus.

Cut Throat World
The famously over used phrase - the war for talent - is iconic for a reason. It's true. 

If you think you can be pleasant, share the recruitment space with everyone, and sing songs around the camp fire at the end of a win-win day you've been beaten.

Aggressive approaches result in success. Showing no mercy in your work and getting your clients the absolute best talent is the end game. 

Throwing your hands up in frustration is lame. Claiming you don't have time to learn social media because you're too busy recruiting makes you sound like you're so out of touch that I'm embarrassed for you. The modern recruiter must keep pace with how the world works today.

Focus. Sense of urgency. Get it done.

Vikings didn't show mercy...they used every weapon at their disposal to win.

How About You
Are you feeling comfortable lamenting how "tough it is out there" to find the talent for your organization? Do you hear yourself saying "once things slow down I'll have time for that?"

Just stop. Please. The world-of-work-train has left the station...and you're not on it.

It's time to grab a helmet with two big horns coming out of it and get to work.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Under and Over It

"I'm so over this...."

How many times have you heard that phrase? How many times have you said it? It's one of those phrases that has made it's way into our common language; yet, I'm not sure that we're actually conveying anything meaningful.

Now before you all get worked up hear me out. I'm not suggesting that we don't get frustrated, or stressed, or worn out from all the excuses around us. I believe we're actually wasting our energy by dwelling too much on those problems.

Small Steps
One of the strategies I use to deal with overwhelming pressure, or stress, or negative self-talk is to simply allow it to overwhelm me. Yes, I give in. I let it roar through my mind and body. It hasn't killed me yet, and once I allow those emotions to flow I find clarity on the other side.

...and then I take a small step to get back on track.

Feelings of frustration and anxiety in our work are often the result of a perceived loss of control. Problems have come up, we are trying to understand them, but they are still unresolved. I don't know about you, but I like to be in control of the work...I don't like the problems controlling me! I take small action steps to take control back.

Go Big
Once I regain my footing I shift into "go mode." For me, that means thinking bigger than the problem. It's not enough to solve a's an opportunity to re-engineer the source of the problem to create something much better than if the problem simply went away. I push myself to think bigger than I did when those emotions washed over me.

Let's face it, no one ever changed the direction of their organization by feeling satisfied solving minor process problems. Our opportunity as leaders is to push past the problem...and past our own comfort zones to create something special. Problem solving is great for today...but leaders have to balance today and tomorrow simultaneously.

"If you're only solving today's problems, you won't be one of the leaders tomorrow."

How About You
Are you over it? What does that mean to you? More importantly, what will your team see you do as a result? Get yourself out from under the flood of excuses. Take both big and small steps and show your team how amazing your organization can be. It is entirely up to you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sometimes I need to...

be more kind.

listen longer before I answer.

focus on the positives.

worry about other's feelings ahead of my own.

be aware that my actions impact others.

lend a hand to someone in need.

mentor a new leader.

challenge a complacent leader.

go out of my way.

inspire as many people as I can.

take the blame.

be an example.

not be so hard on myself.

support those who give it their all.

hold the slackers accountable.

think bigger than I did yesterday.

remember I can not do it alone.

have some downtime.


thank my colleagues.

say hello to a stranger.

take a rest day.

be better prepared.

reach out to someone who needs help.

stop explaining why I love my music.

remember diversity is not a to do item.

be vulnerable.

push harder than is humanly possible.

...but always lead the way.

What is on your list?

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Dangerous Meeting

"Sorry I'm late..."
"How was your weekend..."
"Did you hear what happened last week..."
"I have so many examples of this problem that I need to share with you..."

I've spent my professional life in meetings. That may sound a bit disheartening, or even sad. But the reality is meetings are vitally important if led well. I used to believe meetings needed to be managed well. That approach turned out to be misguided.

Meetings need to be led. If someone is trying to manage a meeting you can collect your things and leave, because they are failing miserably and no one wants to watch that happen.

It may sound simple, but when you attend a meeting do you know why you're there? Regardless of whether or not there is a printed agenda and a resource person with a stopwatch to frenetically scold you if you run over your allotted time by 30 seconds, good meetings need to be led differently.

Why are you sitting in the room when you could be executing on your company's strategy? 

Understanding how you will specifically contribute to the meeting, either by sharing data, giving a status update, or to simply receive information you need to do your job, you must understand why you are there before you join the session.

All too often meetings are filled with noise and excess information that detracts from the pace of work that is necessary in high-performing organizations. 

Several approaches that help keep meetings moving as rapidly as possible include:

1. Never be late. If you can not arrive on time text the leader and then be absolutely quiet when you join the group. If you are late on a consistent basis you clearly are not committed.

2. One example. Time and again I've heard example after example of a problem or a solution (and I've done this myself for years) - but it is a time killer. One example is enough.

3. Make decisions. The ultimate frustration about meetings is that decisions are not made at the end. Effective leaders make decisions and keep things moving. Sometimes those decisions will not be popular. So what? You're not getting paid to win a popularity contest, you're being paid to execute confidently and quickly. 

How About You
When you step into your next meeting today, think about who's leading the session. Are they focused on executing corporate strategy? Are they making sure everyone has an opportunity to share five versions of the same problem before proclaiming "I'll take a look at that."

It's time to lead meetings differently. Stop trying to manage them, and do your job.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

We Who Are About To Die (from your noise)

I've recently made a breakthrough...of sorts. It turns out that despite all the different kinds of people in the world, there are actually only two types of leaders. It wasn't a research study that I stumbled upon that opened my eyes. It wasn't a fascinating journal article that raised my level of awareness. Nor was it some ancient text that was discovered in a far off land.

I learned this from experiencing the same behavior over and over, and I could no longer deny the truth.

One of the most important skills leaders must possess is the ability to influence others with their words. Inspiring those around us, motivating our teams, and supporting our own leadership team is a core competency for the contemporary leader.

There is a significant risk however at only being a skilled communicator, let alone someone who throws around the latest jargon but clearly has no idea what they're talking about.

We all recognize those leaders that are not able to move from talking...and planning...and talking some more...

...with those leaders that demand action.

Planning appropriately, and following that plan is always the best path. However, the balance point between planning and paralysis can be a fine one. The action oriented leaders sometimes need to push across that line in order to maintain momentum.

"If there is no momentum, there is no execution. If there is no execution, there is simply no need for that leader."

For those leaders that can not move from words to action the result is a swirling cauldron of noise. Noise damages credibility. Noise forces team members to critically examine if they can still believe in that leader.

Noise kills.

The secret sauce of leadership if finding the balance point between words that inspire action, and the ability to make decisions to ensure momentum and execution.

How About You
Do you find every excuse in the book to avoid leading? You may think "following up with your team" or "looking into that issue" is part of leading.

Well, you're wrong. That's not leading at all. That's actually killing the rest of us.

Don't be that person. Lead the way instead.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Also Am I

"There are some places in life where you can only go alone. Embrace the beauty of your solo journey."
Mandy Hale

We've all experienced the twists and turns of personal and professional life. Sometimes we have people in our lives who we can rely on, and at others we have to power through on our own. Both scenarios can be quite difficult.

If you're fortunate enough to have someone who connects with you...understands the pressure you're under...and consistently supports you, consider yourself truly blessed.

The Search
The struggle many leaders fall victim to is what I call the "search trap." They are forever looking for the one person who they believe will save them. Maybe it is a new assistant, or project manager, or leader on their team. Whatever the role may be, it's as if that one mythical person has the power to completely transform the challenges of the day.

Where is that special person to be found?

The Realization
The reality of our search is person can make a huge difference. But...not the whole difference.

One leader can move things forward. One energized leader can bring a fresh perspective and sense of urgency to achieve real progress.

The right person can do all those things as long as they have one important attribute...

...they understand that it is their hard work and leadership, not the mere fact that they have walked into the room, that makes all the difference...

How About You
Are you looking for someone to save you? I am too. It turns out you only need to look in one place to find them...the mirror. Then remember that your leadership will achieve more than you could possible realize.

I think you are something to believe in.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.